Financial Aid

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In order to be considered for federal and state aid – and some scholarships – you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. We encourage every eligible student to file a FASFA, regardless of whether you think you will qualify for any aid. The U.S. Department of Education administers the online FAFSA and millions of students complete the FAFSA each year.


  • Remember to designate Penn College as the recipient of your FAFSA by using our federal school code: 003395.
  • We encourage you to complete the FAFSA as early as possible each year. 
  • The 2023-24 FAFSA is needed for students starting or returning for Summer or Fall 2023 and/or Spring 2024. 
  • The 2024-25 FAFSA is needed for students starting or returning for Summer or Fall 2024 and/or Spring 2025. It becomes available by the end of December, 2023.
  • The Penn College priority submission deadline is March 1 each year.
  • The 2023-24 FAFSA uses income from year 2021
  • The 2024-25 FAFSA uses income from year 2022

Parent Information

Most students under the age of 24 will need to include information about their parent(s) on their FAFSA, even if they live separately or their parent(s) will not help them financially.
More information about dependent and independent students from Federal Student Aid.

What if your parents are divorced or separated or never married?
More information about which parent(s) to include, from Federal Student Aid.


You and, if needed, a parent, sign your FAFSA electronically using the FSA ID. If you do not have a FSA ID, you (and parent) should each create one at least 1-3 weekdays before you start your FAFSA. Create an FSA ID.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) embedded within the FAFSA transfers IRS income and tax information from a taxpayer’s IRS tax return directly to the FAFSA. We highly recommend students and parents use the DRT for the 2023-24 FAFSA because it:

  • Simplifies your FAFSA completion process
  • Reduces the odds of error on your FAFSA
  • Reduces the likelihood that your FAFSA is selected for Federal Verification

The DRT will be replaced by a new process to transfer IRS income and tax information directly to the 2024-25 FAFSA, More details at the time the 2024-25 FAFSA is available.

Information about the IRS DRT on the FAFSA
What you need to complete your FAFSA.

Submit your FAFSA

Federal Verification

About 1 out of 10 students who submit a FAFSA are selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a process called Federal Verification.  The Financial Aid Office is here to assist you if you are selected.

Learn more about Federal Verification

Special Circumstances

Did your family experience a significant reduction in income since calendar year 2021? As a result, the financial data on the 2023-24 FAFSA may not reflect your family’s recent or current financial situation. This could be because of a job loss, reduced wages, divorce, separation, or another reason.

If you're an accepted or current student and your family’s 2022 or 2023 total income (both taxable and non-taxable) is significantly lower than it was in 2021, let's have a conversation to help us better understand your family's circumstances and determine if a FAFSA adjustment is possible. Please contact us with any questions.

Unusual Circumstances

Students who answer ‘No’ to all the FAFSA dependency questions and have no contact with their parent(s) because of parental abuse, abandonment or related reasons cannot complete their FAFSA with parental information. The U.S. Department of Education defines these situations as ‘unusual circumstances’ and authorizes colleges to further discuss these circumstances with students. With appropriate documentation, the Financial Aid team can process a ‘dependency override’ on the students’ FAFSAs which results in the students considered as ‘independent’ for federal financial aid purposes. 

Note that the following student circumstances are not considered as unusual circumstances:

  • Live separate from parents or are not financially dependent on their parents
  • Are not claimed as a dependent by their parents on a tax return
  • Parents are unwilling or unable to take out a loan or help fund the cost of education
  • Parents are reluctant to provide their information on the FAFSA

If you believe you have an unusual circumstance and you have no contact with your parent(s), please contact the Financial Aid team.

Learn More

Explore the links below for additional resources to help before and after completing your FAFSA.


Financial Aid

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